“My son, you’d sleep through an earthquake. Now, get up.”
This was not an uncommon quote I’d hear my father say to me weekday mornings during the school year. Sometimes he’d yell it, sometimes he’d say it quietly while shaking one of my appendages, but it was always accompanied with a warm cup of coffee.
These days, I have to make the coffee myself if I want some in the morning. Also, I’m not sure my wife would get out of bed if I didn’t make it. While I’m not the biggest fan of waking up before 9am, for a good cup of coffee, I’ll do just about anything, that includes buying a $300 coffee maker because it is the only one on the market that will consistently hit the perfect water temperature for brewing, 200 degrees.
We didn’t always have the luxury of this do-all coffee maker. When we first got married, I was making a french press, sometimes two, every morning. In my opinion, there is no better way to make a pot of coffee then to let your coarse grinds steep in almost boiling water for 4-5 minutes in a french press. But I became lazy and my wife broke three of my French presses. I needed a less involved way to make coffee. Something that I could get started and then forget about while I got ready for the day.
I heard about the Technivorm Moccamaster in an issue of Cooks Illustrated. It was their only recommended auto-drip coffee maker. This intrigued me. I did my own research and the consensus was the same as Cook’s review, it simply made great coffee. And it really does. The reservoir holds ten cups of water. The water is drawn down into the heating element, when it boils, the pressure pushes the water through a clear plastic tube that passes back through the reservoir where the water cools to the a near consistent 200 degrees (optimal brewing temp) and then is slowly trickled over the coffee grinds and slow dripped through the brew chamber and into a carafe that can keep the coffee warm for hours. This remains the best present my wife ever bought me.
For a while, in between school and a “real” job, I worked as a barista in an upscale breakfast and lunch restaurant in New Jersey. This is a place that was serious about their coffee. They served their specialty coffees in french presses to every guest, and they carried ten different coffees from all over the world that had their own unique characteristics. From the floral and fruity, acidic Kona coffee from Hawaii, to the dark, molasses, and caramel chocolate notes of coffee from the Blue Mountains in Jamaica that retails for forty dollars a pound. I still like to think that I’m not a coffee snob, I think of myself as an educated consumer.
Today, like most other days, I’m not using any fancy coffee, just some basic, moderately inexpensive, Trader Joe’s coffee. But I’ll tell you what, it tastes like an eight dollar cup of coffee from an upscale coffeehouse or breakfast joint. When you throw in a better coffee, you get even better results.
~ FOOTBALL WEEK 4 ~
Enough about coffee. Let’s talk football. Welcome to the first week of byes. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts take a seat for the week and get to watch the games like ordinary people. For the rest of us we struggle to fill the holes the bye weeks leave in our fantasy teams. But it is Sunday nonetheless and this week is packed with great games. I’ll express how I feel about a few of the good match-ups and try to predict the outcome. If you live in Vegas, please do not head to the nearest sports-book to place a bet based on my words – if you do, only let me know if and how much you’ve won.
Carolina Panthers 24 @ Atlanta Falcons 30.
Matty Ice, Matt Ryan. I was hyping this guy earlier in the week when I was discussing who to start at QB for my fantasy team. This guy is on fire this year and I don’t think he stops any time soon, and he is one of the main reasons the Atlanta Falcons are off to a 3-0 start. Not only does he have two of the best receivers in the league with Julio Jones and Roddy White, but he’s also got a future Hall-of-Famer @ tight end in Tony Gonzalez. This should be a big game for Ryan playing against a team that has been average against the pass, allowing atleast one TD to each quarterback they have faced thus far. Look for Ryan to throw tree touchdowns for 320 yards, plus another 30 yards rushing and maybe a rushing TD himself. I’ll give Gonzalez a touchdown as he is just a huge target in the endzone. Between Jones and White there will be two touchdowns and 220 yards.
Last year’s Rookie of the year, Carolina’s Cam Newton, is off to a rough start, compared to the record pace he started off with last year. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a threat, even against one of the top defenses in the league. He will have his hands full, but keep in mind that this guy can run fast and hard, is a threat to run in a touchdown anytime they are within the redzone, and has a rocket launcher for an arm. If the receivers aren’t there, which I don’t think they will be for much of the game, Newton will have a great game running the ball. Look for Newton to have 200 yards passing with a score, and 90 yards rushing and a score. On the receiving side of the ball, Steve Smith with have a decent game of 70 yards and the only TD, leaving the rest of the guys to scramble over the scraps. The running game will have some yards, maybe 110, split between DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart with Stewart getting the only rushing score there, if he is playing – he was limited in practice all week so keep an eye on this.
New Orleans Saints 27 @ Green Bay Packers 34
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has been nothing short of disappointing so far this year. Look for that to change this week against the worst defense in the league, and maybe of all-time. Yea, I said it! If there is ever a game to give Rodgers confidence going into it, it is this one. The Packers are not a run first team so Rodgers will throwing the ball all over the field today. He has no shortage in quality receivers either. Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings should both have nice games with 80 yards and a touchdown each. Then you have Jermichael Finley at tight end who, when he is having one of his games, is un-coverable. Look for a good game from him with 70 yards and a score. This leaves three other receivers James Jones, Randall Cobb, and Donald Driver with little production to share. 150 yards and one touchdown between them. This gives Rodgers a huge game, 380 yards and 4 touchdowns – it will happen.
The Saints are really living up to their alter-ego this season as the Aints. They just ain’t getting it done. Drew Brees and his offense are putting up the points scoring 32, 27, and 24 points respectively over the last three games but none of those scores have been enough to win a game. This week doesn’t look promising as they are up against one of the most potentially explosive offenses in the league. They have to do a better job at stopping the other team from scoring when it matters. But Brees should still have his normal good game, 300 yards and three touchdowns against a defense that isn’t exactly stellar themselves. The touchdowns will go one each to the big, talented, tightend, Jimmy Graham, the ever present Marques Colston @ WR, and the versatile running back, Darren Sproles. Doesn’t matter who scores on offense, it won’t be enough this week.
Game of the Week
New York Giants 30 @ Philadelphia Eagles 27
Of course this is the game of the week for me, I am a Giants homer. Nonetheless, this game will be good. The past few years, the Eagles have almost always found a way to stop the Giants; I guess that is what happens when you play a team twice in a year. It is always nerve-racking to watch my guys play the Eagles. But I think the Giants have this in the bag. Eli Manning is proving that you can’t spell elite without ELI. He is averaging over 300 yards a game, in one of those games he threw for 510 yards and three TDs. He won’t replicate those numbers today, but he will get the job done with 280 yards and two touchdowns. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks (if he plays) will be factors splitting 180 yards but only one score, I’ll give that score to Victor Cruz because Nicks is a little banged up and Cruz is on my Fantasy team. The other touchdown from Manning will go to Martellus Bennett at tight end. Manning has always gotten the tight ends involved an made relevant since he started. That won’t stop this game, as he is averaging 60 yards a game and has scored in every outing so far. Look for nothing different today from him. Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie Andre Brown will split carries depending on who is having the most success. Coming off an injury, look for Andre Brown to have the better game with 65 yards and a score.
I have a hard time writing about the Eagles because I just don’t know what to make of them. Michael Vick should be one of the most dangerous quarterbacks on the field with his powerful arm that can throw the ball clear across the field to his legs that make him one of the fastest players in the game, but he just can not stay healthy or keep the turnovers from piling up. He already has nine turnovers and it won’t get any easier as he faces probably to most formidable defensive lines in the NFL in the New York Giants Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Jason Pierre-Paul. These guys get on the QB, and never let him rest. Outlook for Michael Vick’s injury prone ribs: Not so goo!. But Vick knows how to find a way to be productive against the G-Men so he should have a decent game. 240 yards and two touchdowns, two interceptions, plus 40 yards rushing, sounds about right for him. DeSean Jackson looks in line for a good game, 80 yards and a score. And the tight end, Brent Celek, also looks to have a chance today – I’ll give him 40 yards and a touchdown. Leaving Jeremy Maclin with the big bulk of the remaining yards but no score. LeSean McCoy will working hard today to find the holes, but the kid has moves, and will rack up another good game her as the Giants D Line are much better against the pass then against the run. McCoy should turn in 100 yards and a score today, keep it a close game til the very end.
Fantasy Standouts: Week 4 Dream Team
QB: Aaron Rodgers: 380 yards, 4TDs = 31.2 Points
RB: Ray Rice: 180 total yards, 1TD = 24 points
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew: 160 total yards, 1 TD = 22 points
WR: Calvin Johnson: 115 yards, 2 TDs = 23.2 points
WR: AJ Green: 110 yards, 1 TD = 17 points
WR: Victor Cruz: 80 yards, 1 TD = 14 points
TE: Vernon Davis, 70 yards, 1 TD = 13 points
Kicker: David Akers: 3 FGs, 2 PAT = 11 points
Total Points = 155.4 Points